NHRA: Martino Aims to Shoot Down the Opposition in Dallas
22 October 1998Farmingdale, New Jersey- This weekend's NHRA Revell Nationals will be Tom Martino's fourth straight weekend in his "borrowed" Firebird Pro Stocker, and he can't wait. With each pass down the quarter-mile, the Martino team gains more knowledge on how to fine tune their "doorslammer" for the conditions and make it fly. In addition, Martino continues to display the driving skills for which he is so well known. Coming off a strong semi-final finish in Topeka, the entire Martino Racing/Jesel Valve Train Innovation crew stands poised to claim their second national event title of the year, and the Texas Motorplex seems like the perfect place to do it.
"The whole Martino Racing/Jesel Valve Train Innovation team is excited heading into Dallas," stated Martino. "It looks like we're reaching a point of being competitive at every event. We were pretty good last week in Topeka, but we know we can be better. It may have been a short week, but we've worked our tails off to get everything ready for the next two weekends, and we plan to get it done in Dallas!"
Immediately after the conclusion of events in Kansas, the Martino team transporter made the long haul back to their New Jersey headquarters. Even though this added extra miles, the trip was necessary to thoroughly inspect their car and their equipment after three consecutive weekends of competition, and properly prepare for the back-to-back Texas events. Naturally, long hours were again spent refreshing and preparing the 1,200-plus horsepower motors. Transmissions were disassembled, inspected and rebuilt. Attention was also paid to the racecar itself, checking for signs of wear, and incorporating any additional changes or improvements that could not be accomplished on the road. Besides the usual help offered by fellow Jesel Valve Train Innovation employees, the team welcomed veteran crewmembers Jerry Stinner and Kenny Tom to the organization. Although the majority of the work was complete prior to the truck's departure for the Lone Star State, an additional race motor will be shipped and rejoin the crew at the track.
As everyone on the Martino team knows, they will have to be on their game right out of the box in Texas. The Motorplex is well known for its all-concrete surface and potential for lightning-fast runs. But the tremendous grip of the Ennis quarter-mile comes at the price of an extremely narrow racing groove. To be successful, teams must adjust their car perfectly, and drivers must do their part to keep their car in this small rubber-covered area where the best times and speeds are obtained. In addition, with the forecast calling for low temperatures throughout the weekend, personal, event and national records are all in peril. There is no room for error, and no one wants to be left behind.
For his part, Tom Martino has specific goals for the last three races on the 1998 schedule. First, he would like to add to his career national event win total. In addition, he would like to not only solidify, but also improve on his current eighth place standing in the season's point totals. Finally, he would like to use this time to establish a pattern for he and his entire crew heading into the chase for the 1999 championship. To some, these may seem like lofty aspirations. To Tom Martino, they're opportunities for success.
"These last three races are very important to this team," explained Martino. "We want to maintain this upward trend that we have shown, so we head into 1999 with a full head of steam. But we're far from done in '98. There are still three race wins to be had, and points positions to be gained, and we plan to be in the hunt for both, starting with a win in the Revell Nationals!"